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Texas mosque destroyed in blaze, fire chief urges ‘not to jump to conclusions’

An early morning fire destroyed a mosque in Texas, U.S. on Saturday.
The mosque was a target of hatred several years ago and experienced a burglary just a week ago.

Firefighters were dispatched to the Islamic Center of Victoria just after 2 a.m. and saw that the building had been completely engulfed in flames, local newspaper the Victoria Advocate reports. The massive fire took nearly four hours to extinguish, with first responders putting out the blaze around 6:30 a.m.

Roughly 20 members of the congregation conducted their first prayer of the day on the sidewalk across the street from their destroyed place of worship as investigators made their way into the building to uncover what started the fire.

Members of the mosque planned to complete the day’s remaining prayer calls as close to the destroyed building as fire investigators would allow, the newspaper reports.

Even though the center was recently burglarized on Jan. 21, the congregation’s imam Mr. Hashmi did not believe the fire was the result of arson. No one was in the building at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.

Victoria Fire Marshal Tom Legler said Saturday he does not yet know what started the blaze. The fire was called in by 7-Eleven clerk Paul Hulbert, who saw the smoke and flames when he was taking out the trash. Hulbert said he didn’t see anything suspicious at the mosque before or after the fire.

Victoria Fire Department Chief Taner Drake asked the public not to jump to any conclusions about the cause of the fire.

Source: Daily Sun, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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